Ryan Avery of movie product distributor Convergence Products and now Veydra has launched a KickStarter project to make the Veydra Mini Primes, a set of dedicated prime optics for movie cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera according to his KickStarter page. I assume that the lenses will work with the MTF version of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera too.
Why matched, Dedicated Ciné Primes?
One thing that caused me to hold back on buying into the Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera system was the lack of affordable, dedicated, matched cinema prime lenses.
Try as I might, I could not work out a satisfactory combination of lenses at the otherwise useful Micro Four Thirds lens pages. Too many gaps that could only be filled by mixing brands and thus colour renditions and optical qualities. I had grown up using small but matched sets of prime optics for my stills and movie work and the advantages were clear then just as they are now.
I know that Zeiss and Schneider have made some of their ciné lenses MFT-compatible now but again, gaps in the line-up with nothing wider than 15mm in Zeiss’ case and 25mm in Schneider’s Cine-Xena range. Besides which, the price!
Another option, adapters, is one I am about to experience when my Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapter arrives soon. That is, however an in-between option as I need longer focal lengths for several no-budget documentary projects right now and adapting a Canon L-series zoom is the best I can do without the means to acquire an Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro.
And then there is the prime versus zoom thing. I still prefer primes despite the convenience and lower cost-per-focal-length of zooms. Modified primes have looked interesting since I came across the Duclos Lenses website and its Voigtlaender ciné mods. But, lenses made specifically for shooting movies and movies in 4K or more at that are the best way of future-proofing your kit and getting great value for money.
Veydra to the Rescue?
Some potentially useful things are coming our way from lens makers that usually cater for the Micro Four Thirds stills market. Mitakon by Zhong Yi Optics, SLR Magic and Voigtlaender by Cosina come to mind especially now that 10mm and 10.5mm cinema primes are on their way from those last two. But the fact remains that none of those ranges are made for shooting movies and movies alone. They are modifications of stills lenses albeit they are mods done in-house by their makers.
- Resolution that exceeds 4K
- Cinema 0.8 module focus and iris gears
- Consistent front 80mm outside diameter & 77mm filter threading
- Similar length for quick lens changes
- Constant T2.2 aperture for easy lighting set ups
- Brass plated mounts for durability.
Surely Mr Avery means plated brass mounts in that last bullet point? Nonetheless that list is a very attractive one as is the dollar value he is quoting for the full set of five optics – $4895.00. That is less than a grand per lens, not at all bad for optics as good as Veydra’s appear to be.
And what do you get for that just-under-5K?
- Veydra Mini Prime 12mm T2.2
- Veydra Mini Prime 16mm T2.2
- Veydra Mini Prime 25mm T2.2
- Veydra Mini Prime 35mm T2.2
- Veydra Mini Prime 50mm T2.2
Kicking $3199 in to the Veydra KickStarter project gets you the full set of five while lesser amounts are rewarded with fewer lenses and a t-shirt. If I had $3199 in my pocket right now I would have pledged it immediately.
I do plan on getting these lenses sometime next year though and by then I hope that Veydra will add another, wider lens to the line-up. Then it will truly be a lens set to contend with and I will be one happy camper indeed. Those MFT-lensed Blackmagic Cinema and Pocket Cinema cameras are looking very tempting now. Hmmm. Time to go looking for the best follow-focus options out there in readiness.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)